A Flood of Truth

In the mist shrouded world of ancient legends, one story reappears in all cultures. The story of a Great Flood. Will and Ariel Durant write in The Life of Greece: "In the 15th century before our era, said Greek tradition, the iniquity of the human race provoked Zeus to overwhelm it with a flood, from which one man, Deucalion, and his wife Pyrrha, alone were saved, in an ark or chest that came to rest on Mt. Parnassus" (39).The ancient Mesopotamian world was replete with the Flood story (i.e., the Gilgamesh and Atrahasis epics). Why is this story so ubiquitous among the leg- ends of the world? Could it be because it really happened, leaving an indelible mark upon all the peoples who de- scended from the survivors?

We know of it from the biblical account of Noah in Genesis chapters 6-9. So why is the Bible's account so different from the others? Listen to Everett Fox in The Five Books of Moses: "In general one may say that in contrast to the earlier Mesopotamian versions the biblical one is unambiguous in both tone and intent. It has been placed in Genesis to exemplify a God who judges the world according to human behavior, punishes evil and rescues the righteous.

This is a far cry from the earlier accounts, where the gods plan the destruction of the world for reasons that are unclear (or in one version, because mankind's noise is disturbing the sleep of the gods), and where the protagonist, Utnapishtim, is saved as the result of a god's favoritism without any moral judgments being passed" (34).

Truth always outshines made-up stuff. When have the "gods" ever demanded holy and righteous living? They act as capriciously and immorally as men (for the stream can rise no higher than the source). Men created the gods and the gods' actions betray it.

But not so with the True and Living God! Deep within us—we all hear the ring of truth in the story of Noah's Flood. Man is accountable because of his sins. God judges in righteousness. And He graciously delivers those who fear Him (read Titus 2:11- 14; 2 Peter 3:1- 13).